Hello, Readers, and welcome to Thanksgiving week’s installment of my blog. It’s been a hectic month for me and it’s nice to have some down time in which to collect my thoughts and put them into writing for you to absorb while waiting for the perfect moment to sneak out of your respective offices or cubicles and begin your long weekend.
Between trial notebooks, pretrial hearings, and other boring stuff that I have to do in my day job, I took the time to ponder a timely topic on which to pontificate this week. Sure, I could have opted for the traditional stuff about family feuds or alcohol-soaked, tryptophan-filled, comatose, flatulent uncles snoring away on couches in front of the television; however, I didn’t want to rely on the obvious. Besides, after last week’s trip directly into the gutter, I feel like I should deliver some higher end material this week.
Like most of you I’ve been contemplating my Thanksgiving Day plans and looking forward to a long, food-filled weekend sans the responsibilities of the office. In an effort to keep myself in shape, I talked myself into running an 8 mile race on Thanksgiving morning in the name of having an excuse to be somewhere and as a justification for all of the food I’ll undoubtedly be stuffing into my face and washing down with copious amounts of booze while simultaneously spraying profanities toward the football game on the television in front of me.
Committed, I logged on to the website, signed up, entered my shirt size, and paid the fee. Paying to run 8 miles? That’s a lot like paying someone to kick me in the knees for 68 minutes. Regardless, after paying I received a confirmation email along with a coupon for $15 off a new pair of running shoes at a local running store that sponsors the event. Of course, I paid more than $15 to run in the first place, but hey, fifteen bucks buys 7 Lone Stars and leaves a buck for the band’s tip jar at my favorite honky tonk. After confirming the nearest location of the running store, off I went to get some new (discounted) running shoes.
Now as most of you know, Some Guy has a general abhorrence for ceremony, titles, pretentiousness, or anything self-congratulatory (well, other than this blog). As I flipped through the nearest addresses of the running store on my handy iPhone I noticed that the closest location was in a shopping area in North Austin called The Domain.
Shopping pisses me off enough; however, throw in the ceremony, titles, pretentiousness, and self-congratulation that accompanies “high end” shopping centers and I get irritable quickly. Include the holiday regalia (read: propaganda), and my blood pressure rises considerably. I’m not suggesting that I’m “right” and everyone who frequents these abominations on my Hill Country serenity is “wrong.” I’m just telling you how I feel about it.
Despite my genuine affinity for Bianca, Mary, and a host of other Dallas readers, there is a comparison to be made here. The Domain is tantamount to a group of engineers figuring out how to surgically remove 10 square blocks of Dallas and transplant them in Austin. Shops with fancy names with accents in them, promotional luxury cars strewn about the outdoor walkways, fancy coffee shops, Nieman’s and its offspring serving as the anchor stores, steakhouses, sculptures, and (my favorite) valet parking abound like pills in Courtney Love’s purse. I suppose it’s my fault for subjecting myself to this ridiculousness in the name of saving fifteen bucks, but that’s not the point.
I arrived and had the audacity to park my own vehicle in spite of the judgey looks I received from the pimply-faced, red-jacket wearing teenagers at the valet stand. I walked immediately toward the key map mounted in the middle of the entry way in order to find the store with my new shoes in it. Like most men, I’m all business when I leave the cave and go hunting for something. Unlike most women, I see no need to make a day of it.
As I perused the array of places designed to rip me off in the name of looking trendy, I made a mental note to grab a Diet Coke on the way to my store since—according to the map—there was a café situated about halfway between YOU ARE HERE and my shoe store. It was at this point that I became momentarily intoxicated with whatever substance is being pumped into the air by collusive retailers seeking to brainwash customers out of their hard earned money.
Diet Coke in hand, I strolled knowingly past the shops meant clearly for women in search of something to tickle my fancy. Lord knows I love my fancy tickled. I actually knew a girl once who loved her fancy tickled. However, I never went there. She had her fancy tickled so often that it wasn’t very fancy anymore.
Annnyyyhooo . . . .
I walked past a few stores and noticed a store filled with pots, pans, and other cooking stuff. “Why not?” I thought. I’ve got some time to kill. Besides, I’m certain I can find something I need in there. I approached and noted the name of the place. “Sur Le Table,” I said aloud. Of course, I pronounced it “Sir Lah Tay-bull,” but was later informed by the Special Lady Friend who sported that Tsk Tsk condescending smirk that women get when a man attempts to enter their playground that it is actually pronounced “Soor Le Tahb.” Excuuuusssse me. “It’s still an overpriced ripoff,” was my response.
Back to Le Tahb.
I entered an immediately noticed that there was no way to discern what, if anything, was actually for sale. Items were stacked haphazardly on metal shelves that seemed randomly placed around the store. The French presses were mixed in with the spoonulas, spatulas, and other platypus-esque mergers of kitchen tools for which I lacked the vocabulary to call by name. I quickly became confused.
Oblivious to my crisis and intoxicated with the possibility of purchase, hoards of anxious women one step shy from frothing at the mouth buzzed around me like bees on lavender bushes in search of stuff to adorn their kitchens and accent their dining room le tahbs. I felt like that kid in the LSD video they used to show in high school right after he takes his first hit of acid and the world seems to spin around him. LSD is, of course, not a gateway drug; rather, it’s usually progressively arrived at as the result of boredom with other drugs such as marijuana—also commonly referred to as “Mary Jane” or “Reefer.” Remember that movie?
At this point, my bladder began to realize that I’d ingested 20 ounces of Diet Coke and became pregnant with pressure. I needed the Sur Le Toilette. I made my way through the mish mash of Le This and Le That, stepped around some boxes, and began to relax my clenched bladder in anticipation of some alone time with Mr. Urinal. My expectations were quickly quashed when I noticed the unisex sign on the bathroom door and the word “Occupied” in the slot above the lock.
“Damnit,” I thought. “I really have to Sur Le Pee.” In an attempt to ignore the building pressure on my bladder walls, I turned to the nearest shelf of Le Stuff and examined various espresso accessories and wine openers, including one called “The Wine Saver” which consisted of a rubber cork and a vacuum thing to pull the air out of an opened bottle of wine in an effort to preserve the bold fragrance and satisfying woodiness of whatever was on sale at 7-11’s “wine” section that week. I found it odd that the Wine Saver was available in only one size. Never once had I opened a regular sized bottle of wine and not finished it. Sure, the giant Gallo jug size might need to be “saved” on an off night, but a regular bottle? Please.
Please was right at this point. I had to urinate so badly that I began eyeing the multicolored Le Creuset pots in the corner. I even contemplated giving that wine saver thing a try in order to seal things off for a bit. “Man, whoever is in there must have a real problem,” I thought. Just as I was ready to kick in the door like The Transporter in search of his Asian cargo, the door opened and two giggly women and their 40 bags of Le Junk emerged without a care in the world. It was then I was reminded that during shopping excursions women’s pack behavior is extremely prevalent. Fighting the urge to smack both of them with the Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One on the nearby shelf, I brushed passed them and found relief in the now empty restroom.
I exited and proceeded to the register with that Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One. I simply had to have it. When I approached the register it was impossible to determine if there was actually a line of women waiting to pay or if the women in front of me were simply milling around like those aforementioned bees. Gossip, Giggles, and Girl talk filled the air. The woman behind the counter—who was inexplicably wearing an apron—smiled at me and asked me if I was ready to check out. Thankful, I approached and handed her my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One. An apron? Who is she Sur Le Kidding?
“Name and address, please?” she said as she simultaneously smiled from ear to ear and placed her hands in an at ready position over the keyboard in front of her. “Excuse me?” I said. “Name and address, please?” Name and address? I’m buying a Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One not enlisting in the military. Why in the hell do they need my name and address?
“Chris Harrison,” I said with a straight face as I made up a fake Austin address. Incredibly, she didn’t recognize me and the joke fell on her Le Deaf Ears. Le Whatever. I paid for my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing and left the store still on my way to find some running shoes.
Wandering, it occurred to me that it might be a tad chilly on Thanksgiving morning at 7 a.m. I saw a store with headless mannequins clad in athletic attire and crossed the street to see if I could find some warm up pants to wear. I looked up at the sign above the door and realized the place—like the Artist Formerly Known and Now Currently Known Once Again as Prince—did not have a name; rather, it had only a symbol that looked like an Omega in the Greek alphabet. “At least the other place had a name,” I thought.
Before I could ascertain the name of my location, I was approached by a giant of a woman dressed in whatever the name of this place was athletic attire. I’m 6’1” and this broad towered over me like Godzilla above the Tokyo skyline. I was too busy looking for the remnants of knuckle hair and an Adam’s apple to realize that she was welcoming me to “Lululemon,” which I gathered was either “her” stage name in the drag queen show she performed in nightly or the name of that symbol above the front door.
I’ve since asked a few of my female friends about this place and, to my utter surprise, every one of them has delivered an impassioned response about the quality and durability of Lululemon yoga pants. I realize I’m about to teach Jesus about the Bible, but humor me here. For those of you (I assume the one guy who reads this) who aren’t aware, Lululemon is apparently the greatest yoga and athletic pant manufacturer in the history of the entire universe and everything that ever came before it . . . ever. More about that later.
She-Ra, or whatever “her” name was, guided me toward the “men’s” section of the store. Actually, I went there for fear that if I didn’t she’d body check me into a dressing room and violate me, but the result was the same: I ended up in the “men’s” section, where I had a difficult time seeing anything a man would wear.
She-Ra asked me what brought me into the store and rather than answer “stupidity, boredom, and morbid curiosity,” I made what I would soon realize was the cardinal faux pas of Lululemon. “I’m looking for a pair of warm up pants,” I said. (insert that Tsk Tsk condescending smirk that women get when a man attempts to enter their playground).
“Well,” said She-Ra trying to contain the rage boiling beneath her well-formed biceps. Incidentally, I’m certain that the only reason she didn’t give me the beat down at that moment was the off chance that I was some sort of pre-Christmas season mystery shopper sent by whoever invented that symbol thing above the door to ensure holiday staff readiness.
She-Ra quickly explained to me that Lululemon pants were “work out” pants and were not JUST for warming up. Excuse me, bitch. Big or not, I’m still a man and I was confident that given the opportunity to inflict the first punch, I could easily take her. It was as this thought was traveling through my mind that She-Ra grabbed several pairs of Lululemon pants off the rack and began her sales pitch.
Let’s see, there was the Kung Fu Pant, Trek Pant, Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pant, Formula Pant, and the Presta Pant. They ranged from $98 to $140 for ONE pair of warm up . . .errrr, work out pants. Give me a f*cking break. I almost hit her over the head with my Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing.
Let me say some final things about Lululemon. First, She-Ra—in spite of her intimidating appearance—was just as passionate about these phenomenal pants as my female friends. She was knowledgeable and was an excellent sales person. However, no one is a good enough sales person to get me to buy a pair of $140 “work out” pants named Lululemon. You’d think they’d have a guy line called Rocco lemon or Sluggo lemon or something more masculine. Apparently, it doesn’t bother the dudes going in there to buy them. I’m certain they’re boyfriends appreciate the Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pants as well.
I eventually did make it to the athletic shoe store and walked out with a new pair of running shoes. I plan to wear them on Thursday during the race and then carefully deposit them in the bedroom after I shower and put on my $18 warm up pants. My Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One thing should come in handy at the Thanksgiving table.
On a serious note: I’d like to wish a big get well soon to my close friend, Lincee Ray who had knee surgery this morning. Many of you reading this are reading it via her blog www.ihategreenbeans.com. Lincee has become a close friend over the past couple of years and I’m thankful that she’s there to cheer me on each week. Feel better soon, my friend. I look forward to the next two step.
Despite having to stomach The Domain and it’s odd stores, it did occur to me that I am lucky to be in position to afford a Fork, Spoon, Spatula, Grill Cleaner, Pot Scrubber in One and expensive “work out” pants if I chose to buy them. I’m lucky to be able to run 8 miles and even luckier to have some folks waiting at the finish line for me when I do. I hope you’ll all take time over the next few days to sit quietly—if not for just a few moments—and remind yourself of the truly good things, circumstances, and people in your lives. Friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, houses, and yes, even expensive work out pants enter and leave our lives often in irregular, unpredictable, and even heartbreaking patterns. Still, there are always blessings of which we should forever be vigilant enough to recognize and to foster. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Be safe, be happy, and most of all, be Thankful.
Until next week, if you need me I’ll be warming up in my Tight, Tight Luxtreme Pants. In closing, I’m reminded of a song by one of my favorite artists, Chris Knight. The chorus goes like this.
"I'm thankful for the things I have and all the things I don't.
I've got dreams that will come true and I've got some that won't.
Most the time I just walk the line, wherever it goes
'Cause you can’t hang yourself if you ain’t got enough rope.”
Enjoy the link below and enjoy the holiday ahead. DP